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2019: The year of STRETCH!

She made a promise to herself: This year, she will be brave and bold about EVERYTHING!

I’m back! And it’s been quite a journey to get here.

In August of 2018, I embarked on an adventure to live “A Year by the Sea.” I packed up my belongings, rented my house in St. Paul, MN, and ventured off to Maine — my self-prescribed “Happy Place!”

As I drove off to make the trek across the country, friends and family wished me well and commended me for living brave and bold. Yet I know many of them secretly thought — “What the hell is she doing leaving everything behind and starting fresh in her 50’s…alone?!” Or perhaps they wondered, “Why can’t she just be happy with her nice life in MN?!”

Well, that’s easy. I knew deep in my gut that this was something I needed to do. This is for my soul. It’s aimed at busting myself open to discover what next. It’s meant to push me way outside my comfort zone and it absolutely includes doing hard things.

Once I decided that I needed a fresh new start, including time and space to crack open my heart and live into the answers, there really was no stopping me. To stay in my familiar life would have been the easy choice. But I don’t believe you get “really good” without doing hard. And we all know that I’m not interested in living safe and small anymore. I am on a mission to live up to my absolute greatest potential — and that changes and evolves as I change and grow. Therein lies the work of this journey!

A close friend and mentor warned that this wouldn’t be easy and suggested that I must keep going even and especially when it is really, really hard. Her words ring true now when my heart aches for the familiar and comfortable, and as I search for a sliver of solid ground.

A girl on a mission

I embarked on this journey for one core reason – to STRETCH! To push myself in the areas of bigness, boldness, goodness, kindness, in physical pursuits, in emotional bravery, and in love. I am inspired by the women who have gone before — (Wild: Cheryl Strayed, Eat Pray Love: Elizabeth Gilbert, and A Year By the Sea: Joan Anderson) — exuding bravery by leaving the lives they had built to find their best and deepest selves…to take their lives to the next level of personal growth. By their example, I jumped almost without fear. Well, okay, I had fear and recognized it, but knew that I could not let it stop me.

So here I am ushering in 2019 with the goal of making it a courageous one — a year of STRETCH! I’m doing the work, just like I promised myself, and truthfully, it’s hard. At times, the uncertainty and discomfort is palpable, if not unsettling and debilitating.

While most people start bold and fresh on January 1st of a new year, I found myself feeling stuck in transition — not belonging here or there, floundering to find solid ground, and even at times asking myself “What the hell did I just do?!

Now, don’t get me wrong — the first quarter of this adventure was awesome. Sept.-Dec. of 2018 rocked! I felt alive and strong, brave and bold, grateful and free. Most importantly, I achieved my number one goal of “opening myself up to everything!” I was present and living in the moment — and amazing things happened. To highlight just a few: I met wonderful new people, joined book clubs and women’s collectives, got myself back on a Harley with a cute guy riding the coast of Maine, stretched emotionally in some pretty big areas, all while actively choosing to leave my past behind so that I could focus on the future! I hiked and climbed and explored. I knocked off a bunch of Maine firsts that were on my bucket list. I embarked solo on a Fall color tour of New England. And, I landed my first work project in Maine doing something that I love.

Fast forward to January 2019 and the start of the second quarter of my ‘Year by the Sea’ and, well, I’ve floundered, felt lost in transition — not belonging here or there — and I’ve really struggled to get my bearings. The mojo has not been there. I’ve felt lost, lonely, disoriented and uncomfortable for much of the month.

So now what? It’s February 1st and my favorite month of the year (because it’s all about love and I love, love!) Love is a key theme in my life and, specifically, in my ‘Year by the Sea’ adventure. So now what? I’m going to pick myself and reset, of course!

A promise to myself

Lucky for me, my In-the-Equation journey has been one of self-love and personal growth from the start. Losing 200+ lbs and keeping it off for 6 years is just part of the story. As many of you have heard me say, the real growth has been on the inside. It has manifested in the incredible gifts of self-love, self-acceptance, and the ability to practice self-compassion and self-care. The confidence that I now have in myself to weather any storm, to accomplish any task, is far greater than my desire to give up, quit on myself, throw in the towel, or settle. I am truly “made for more” as Rachel Hollis would say (Girl Wash Your Face, Made for More, Rise podcast)!

I no longer beat myself up for struggling, slipping or failing. I just notice it, acknowledge it, and figure out what to do next to support myself in moving forward on the path to become a better version of myself. I remind myself what my close friend said to me: “It’s going to be hard at times, and you just have to keep moving forward.”

Last month, I had the privilege of creating and delivering a new In-the-Equation workshop for the South Washington County School District in Woodbury & Cottage Grove, MN. The workshop was titled: “Learn how to get out of your own way to live the healthy and vibrant life you want.” It’s aim was to help participants learn all the ways we self-sabotage our success often without knowing it.

There were 25 brave women in the workshop wading through their own “crap” and doing the internal work that most are afraid to tackle. Some of the women were moved to tears as they discovered their self-limiting beliefs and how harsh they were being with themselves. Others identified patterns or themes in their self-sabotage and were thrilled to have the awareness to now work through it.

I was personally moved by these woman, and did my own work in the session as I was delivering it. Then, live in the workshop, I promised those beautiful, brave women that I would re-engage with my In-the-Equation blog and share my ongoing journey to live healthy, happy, and a WHOLE life.

So here I am keeping that promise to the women of South Washington County Schools and, most importantly, to myself. I’m starting 2019 (in February) with intention, purpose, and courage. I’m renewing the promise that I made to myself to live brave and bold and to STRETCH in every single area of my life. And in doing so, I have written my 2019 In-the-Equation Manifesto and wanted to share it here.


I choose to be happy.

I choose to be healthy & vibrant, stretching my hamstrings and my comfort zone.

I choose to have extraordinary relationships filled with love and kindness.

I choose courage, and live brave and bold in all endeavors.

I choose to be in the equation of my own life and practice consistent self-care.

I choose to be present and open.

I choose to be grateful.

I choose adventure.

I choose to be inspiring and inspired.

And I choose LOVE!

… Always LOVE!

So now what?

I start, restart, stretch! I choose courage and live brave every day. I DON’T throw in the towel or quit when it gets hard. This manifesto is my guide for this year…and perhaps for life. I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I have hardly any! But I know how to start, and for today that’s what matters.

Need inspiration? I found it in a podcast I listened to this past weekend by Brendon Buchard of High Performance Habits. He is a leading author, motivator, speaker and researcher on the most effective habits for reaching long-term success. Buchard suggests that we ask and answer what it means to live a courageous life. Courage is a decision, Brendon said. An active and ongoing decision, and one you have to commit to actively every day.

I’m prioritizing my goal to be healthy and vibrant as the number one most important thing for right now. I am resetting…and going ALL-IN to get the extra weight off and feel better inside and out. Lori-in-the-equation in 2019 is getting back to the basics.

My non-negotiables:

  • Follow the nutritional plan that works best for me (I know it by heart! PM me if you want to know more);
  • Get the wine/alcohol out (I’m now on day 20 of no alcohol, my plan is to go 30 days and then determine what’s next based on how I feel);
  • Go to the gym 2-3x per week; move my body every day (walking, winter hiking)
  • Restart the blog and share my journey live = accountability + inspiration
  • Be open and present to everything!
  • Ask and answer every day: How did I STRETCH today?

Now you…

When was the last time you actively chose hard, brave, courageous? When was the last time you actively chose YOU?

I’d love to hear from you! What does a courageous life mean to you? Do you have a mantra or a manifesto to inspire and keep you on track? What’s most important to you in 2019? What’s working?

Today, I am choosing courage. I am going for it! Are you with me?!



P.S. A very special shout out to my friend, Anne, who helped inspire me to this journey of “A Year by the Sea” and who (along with Brendon Buchard) sparked the idea of creating a manifesto that includes actively choosing the life you want. Thanks Anne, you rock!



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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Anne Strub #

    Love this post, Lori, you are such an inspiration and great writer.

    February 4, 2019
    • Hi Anne! Thanks so much for your comment. It was great to see you in MN in January. Hope your new year is going strong.

      February 4, 2019
  2. Sandra Swami #

    Go Lori! And yes …. S T R E E E C H those hamstring and calves and hips EVERY DAY!!!!

    February 4, 2019
    • Ha, hi Sandra. Thanks for the physical STRETCH reminder. 🙂

      February 4, 2019
  3. Jean Voxland #

    Very well said my dear friend. Q2 is going to be wonderful for you. Your manifesto will make it so.

    February 5, 2019
    • Awwwwhhhhhh, thanks hon. Miss you bunches. Look forward to talking very soon. xo

      February 5, 2019
  4. Justine Lineburg #

    Love all of this and all of you, Lor! ❤️

    February 5, 2019
    • OMG< I miss you. Thanks darlin! You're one of my younger generation kick-ass role models!

      February 6, 2019
  5. Linda Frumkin-Walker #

    Hi Lori – I am so happy for you and all of the progress you have/are making in life. I believe the last time we met or saw one another was 2010 at BFB in your “before” life. I am still here…..trying to beat the cancer thing and so far doing well. Just wanted to say hello and how I am so inspired by you. Linda

    February 10, 2019
    • Hi Linda! I’m so happy to hear from you and hear you are doing well. It’s been way too long but I do think of you almost every time I am at the resorts working. Sending hugs and prayers across the miles. Thanks for the lovely note and vote of confidence. – Happy 2019! – Lori

      February 10, 2019

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